What are living stones?« Back to Questions List

Many animals escape the hot desert sun by burrowing into the soil. Surprisingly, a group of plants native to southwestern Africa are burrowers too. These plants are called living stones because of their appearance. Living stones survive in deserts where the average rainfall is less than half an inch. They get most of their water from the fog. Because of the non availability of continuous supply of water, there is a need to conserve what water they get. Their habit of burrowing helps reduce moisture loss due to sun’s heat.


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Living stones grow in sand with small windows (small portions of leaves where light can enter) exposed at the surface. Others look so much like pebbles and small rocks strewn over the desert that they are impossible to find until they flower. Then the tips of leaves separate, allowing the beautiful large bloom to emerge.


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